A Journal of the Plague Year 2.0 Day 14

18th November 2020

I have an excuse today not contributing to society. Have been werking. WERKK.

Bedclothes all day, woke at 7am, checked the usual shit on the Internatz before the stuff in the back of your mind starts standing by the bed and breathing on your shoulder. Rent is due too.

First the multiple texts from multiple filming agencies to sort through, including one pleading for someone, anyone to be available for December (literally the fifth text and the fifth noISAIDNO). Then checking the emails flurrying into increasing drifts. FFS who needs three accounts these days??

And knowing I have to do a big rewrite on The Book, as well as apply for that job D sent me two days ago, but have been too scared to click on.

So after the emails got started on The Book, just to rid my demons. Then after two chapters fell asleep for half an hour into a deep, stilldrop place. A dark, dark pond by a big rounded rock. One weeping willow.

Had a Polish packet noodle, and some pretty delectable, super-cheap clams that A rustled up (£1.50 a pop from Lidl), the best I’ve ever had. Steamed in white wine sauce that came with the packet, and very soft. Reminded me of Belgo, and wondering if they’re still about -doubt it. But I can’t be wondering, wandering, enshadowed by priorities. Fucker still here.

So finally, finally the job. Clicked on it and it had been retracted. FFS.

So got onto the website, and started looking, took a while. To cut a long story short it’s now 6hrs later, I’ve finished the application for a different role and missed dinner. It’s 1.30am. What kind of job application takes 6 hrs these days??

Welcome to modern life, and all its bureaucratic wrangles, its hidey-holes and knots. It’s no longer queues at different govt departments these days, with papers to stamp and signatures to countersign. Now it’s an endless march of circles to click for some algorithmic cherry-picker, before check after check of online security and almost poetically stern, semi-autistic writing to tap out. There’s a set language that dries the tongue and mind, into nausea:

Achieved. Attained. Trained. Translated. Created. Communicated. Composed. Comprised. Qualified. Supplied. Scored. Staffed. Enhanced. Introduced. Initiated. Incorporated. Involved. Invested. Liaised. Led. Demonstrated. Projected. Promoted. Registered. Resulted. Directed. Disseminated. Maintained. Managed.

Responsibilities. Duties. Detail. Performance. Skillset. Agile. Analysis. Keyholder. Blue Sky. Waterfall. Knowledge. Pool. Precision. Deadline. Risk. Report. Upkeep. Brand. Band. Vendor. Customer. Client. Leader. Office. Official. Regional. Industry. Standards. Stakeholders. Issues. Initial. Intake. Interest. Investment.

LinkedIn has recently been making history with possibly the world’s most annoying campaign since Grammarly, popping up like a gurning rash all over Youtube whenever you want to do anything ever.

Someone please, please -for the sake of her family, friends and other animals, get her A Fucking Life. That cold glow throughout is very, very apt for what they’re selling. The Billy No Mates on her sofa, talking to herself. It’s not lockdown, it’s probably her birthday.

Who the flip genuinely uses LinkedbloodyIn as a social media platform? You do not want to go there, traipsing through industry reports and self promotion, looking for interaction and pals but finding only the dark succubus to any meaning in life.

Filling in the pencil; it’s enough to never want the job. As if those who came up with the form really are the robots they present on paper: grey-suited, white-collared, biro-packing, spot-less, emotion-less, sandwich-eating. Plastic-coated.

^amazing show btw

They better bleeding hire me, put my soul into that. Online tests, mission statements to write, 12 guidelines and info packs to read, and 6 forms to craft and perfect and stretch the bullshit over, though really it’s all true, just how you word it has to sound SO professional. One can’t really put down, yeah, I did all this but I can’t really be arsed to list it, would you fancy a drawing of a pigeon instead? Or a lifetime pass to my OnlyFans?

Yes, I taught deGrasse Tyson everything he knows. Yes I invented the world wide web. Yes I loaned Bill Gates that tenner back then. Yes I own a panda. Yes I can drive. I’d rather work for free for a few days or get sample exercises to do and be judged on that. Than ever have to fill out another form bigging oneself up. It’s painful, it eats the soul like Saturn devouring his son.

Applying for a job is pure existential fuckery to me, to I.

Am going to take the next day off.

I kinda need a black forest gateau right now.



A Journal of the Plague Year Day 29

Wednesday 15th April 2020

Today has been especially sluggish. Giant-leopard-spotted-sliming-through-treacle-sluggish. With a limp. Didn’t sleep last night due to a headache pill containing the barest whiff of caffeine, and thus was trancing glo-sticks to an allnighter in my head till 6am, faceplanting the pillow. It’s not so much counting sheep by then but chasing the fuckers down and shooting them.

Got up 3 hrs later to start my day. Another joyless meal: Thai chicken soup out of a can, poured over fried bacon, carrot, potato and rice. As amazing as it sounds. Yep, I’m hitting the stage of using up what’s about to start crawling about or becoming smoked.


J thankfully gave me a chocolate mini-egg and some shortbread, two humane essentials at the mo, along with power, internet and water. Watched Maleficent II -crap film but a welcome change. I’ve heard there’s a high demand for media set in historical or ahistorical climes, pre-digital, pre-internet, pre-phones-4-U, pre-car, pre-TikTok. Sherlock Holmes, Game of Thrones, Dan Jones that kinda thing. I think we’re all desperate to just get TF away from reality for a spell -every morning the global hobby being lying in bed and reading endless newsfeeds, literally in-yer-face for hours.


Hearing about the World Health Organisation and its demonisation via the Trump regime, the continuing breakdown of the global food distribution network, more racism (casual, overt, politicised) and more large business closures (Oasis, Cath Kidston, Warehouse). Today I progressed to attempting to chase a refund (Sainsbury’s Bank having trouble for some 1.5 month-long reason, despite promising multiple times), having to book new mandatory time off work, chasing up cancelled holiday plans and checking bank records all becoming a wonderland of bureaucratic shite, a dervish of dates, times, passwords, password generators, statements, emails and assorted fuckery. They say people work longer than they did before computing, even though so much time’s been saved the bureaucratic nature of all transactions nowadays means it just becomes a blizzard. The same applies to the workplace -nothing will ever save you time, you just do more work.

I need to decouple myself from Americana, in all its garish glory. I need some Wuthering Heights, with wolves. Possibly set somewhere more exotic than Huddersfield, like the brooding wastes of Kamchatka or Hokkaido or Earthsea. It breaks my heart that I’ve had to cancel three holidays -the most we’d ever booked. I would’ve been in the wilds of the Tyrolean forest right now, working my way to Lake Garda. Possibly spotting a bear from a creaking train carriage, the kind with a restaurant car, aspidistra and doilies, and a mysterious murderer on board as light entertainment.


Yesterday’s film was Cold Skin, a 2017 French-Spanish funded horror from a book of the same name, La Pell Freda. Shit. Dodgy prosthetics, unscary creatures that have the big-reveal within the first 20 mins, and a pre-cursor to the Pattinson-Dafoe offering, The Lighthouse, also about two deteriorating men trapped on a lighthouse island. This version though had none of the menace or ethereal qualities that would define such a setting, replaced with tiresome screenplay, ham acting and weak characterisation (one of them unbothered that the other just tried to kill him, or has him effectively trapped each night). It scored 20 out of 40 in my horror cliche list I made last night. If ever you’re terrified by blue-tinged gimps, manatees, or just rubber this is for you.


I tried to feed the pigeons again. This time going one level up in the stairwell so I could lob the dinner disaster from yesterday onto where they roost. They all ran away like stupid fuckchickens, and the food lies scattered in the sun. Some have come back and are just sitting there in the pigeon-sitting-there way they do. I swear, these animals have no idea what food is. Or maybe it’s cannibalistic, feeding pigeons an omelette, though I’ve seen them snacking on KFC many a time.

The night’s offering was The Handmaiden, satiating my recent aversion to Hollywood. Pre-digitalis (tick), historicist (1920s, tick), foreign (Korean, tick), non-formulaic (LGBTQ crime drama, tick), no fucking explosions (tick). Fantastic storytelling, perverted, perverse and exotic -but I’d uploaded the directors cut. Which thus meant sitting through a near 3hr epic. J very nearly fell asleep until I conspicuously, loudly fiddled with the cushions.


J’s been a bit down these last few days, the lack of work and meaning starting to hem in the walls, but has started reading which apparently is making a world of difference. At Home by Bill Bryson which I’ve leant him, one of the driest subjects (domesticity) made into a rip-roaring journey through history with laughs a minute and studded with delicious, sordid details. Once again historic narrative saves the day.

Dinner was a slim-fast milkshake thingy (Complan, which I used to love as a snack while a kid), bought during the panic buying as something we could savour as a last resort, starving already and watching burning skylines.  There’s been nothing much more to my life today. No sleep. Internet. Sleep. Internet. Eat. Film. Sleep.

I officially ran out of alcohol today, the last dregs of the raspberry gin.